Cloughbawn's unlikely hero
Cloughbawn 1-15 Duffry Rovers 1-12
At the beginning, it would have been fairly hard to believe that a substitute would provide the decisive moment in this Greenstar Enniscorthy District Under-21 football Roinn 1 championship semi-final in St. Patrick's Park on Friday.
When Brendan Martin threw in the ball at the start of the game both sides had 14 men on the field. Duffry Rovers were first to hit the magic number 15 when Barry Redmond jogged on in the 26th minute.
Cloughbawn were waiting for Micheál Kavanagh but with the tall forward still to arrive, the eventual victors went younger again, introducing Paddy Whitty to the fray at the interval to ensure they had 15 for the start of the second-half.
With the game heading towards the final quarter, in sauntered Kavanagh.
His warm-up was reluctant and he looked an unlikely hero when he eventually entered the fray with just eight minutes of normal time remaining.
The Duffry had been playing catch-up all half. Cloughbawn took a 0-9 to 1-3 lead in at the interval after dominating most of the half. Bob Whitty and Darragh O'Connor both kicked three first-half points while Connal Flood added a brace.
At the other end, Rovers were really struggling until Michael Doyle was fouled in the 28th minute. Tim Bowler strode up to the spot-kick, full of confidence, and smashed it high down the middle to make a game of it.
Every little run the Coolree club got going was halted at the other end, more often than not, by a Bob Whitty score.
However, moments after Kavanagh came on in the 52nd minute, Michael Kearns pulled his side within one (0-14 to 1-10).
Tails up, the Duffry quickly regained possession on the right and Cian Fitzhenry popped over his sixth of the game to level. They probably looked the more likely winners at that stage but Cloughbawn responded.
Again Whitty and O'Connor were involved, and the shot from the latter kicked up wickedly off the wet turf, spun away from Conor Coleman, and super-sub Kavanagh was on hand to punch to the net from close range.
O'Connor and Gavin Watchorn exchanged points and, despite a spell of Duffry pressure in added-time, Cloughbawn held on to take the victory and book a final meeting with Monageer-Boolavogue at the same venue on Friday (7.30 p.m.).
Cloughbawn: Cian O'Connor; Stephen Casserly, Gareth Murphy, Daniel Dempsey; Kyle Murphy, James Flood, Colin Murphy; Connal Flood (0-2), Robert Kinsella; Bob Whitty (0-8, 6 frees), Darragh O'Connor (0-4, 1 '45), Paddy Whitty; David Casserly, Billy Wickham (0-1), Seán Keating. Sub. - Micheál Kavanagh (1-0) for D. Casserly (52).
Duffry Rovers: Conor Coleman; Jamie Roban, Liam Pender, Michael Kearns (0-1); Michael O'Leary, Thomas Dunne, John Dunne; Gavin Rafter (0-1), Gavin Watchorn (0-1); Cian Fitzhenry (0-6, 3 frees), Tim Bowler (1-2, 1-0 pen., 0-1 free), Seamus Doyle; Alan Doyle, Michael Doyle (0-1), Barry Redmond.
Referee: Brendan Martin (Ballyhogue).